Montys Loco in concert - Tavastia Club, Helsinki - Friday 17th March 2006 
Saturday, 18 .March, 2006, 18:55 - English Entries, Music

They sang before the Cardigans went on stage. Montys Loco is a Swedish duo of Anja Bigrell and Marie Eklund. Whilst Anja sings with a gentle voice, that often gets a harsh and raw undertone, Marie accompanies her on the acoustig guitar that goes along perfectly with the singing.

They maybe sang five songs and throught that time I had the impression that the whole club fell into silence and left only room for that voice and the guitar, that guided the audience carfuelly and savely through the winters night. There were softer songs and wilder ones, but at no point any of the two girls became too loud. They did not need to move, their music caught the room in a warm trance and all of us were listening and bound to them.

The lyrics are nothing for easy listening - they are serious and most of them have a sad notion. Anja sings them with a clear voice and makes them easy to understand.

I got their CD "Man Overboard" which is beautiful to listen to and shows more facets of the band. Songs like "Give me More" and "Image" give an impression of how they are live. On the teaser "Wasteland" there is the song "leather", which has a lot of power. Samples of the songs can be heared by clicking on their names.

The true magic of Montys Loco is only apparent when they are on stage. Don't miss to see them.


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Photographs online 
Thursday, 16 .March, 2006, 15:30 - English Entries, Travel, Photographs, Friends, Family

While still deep in the jet lag and unable to do anything challenging, I stumbled over flickr and got enthusiastic about it. That is finally the link that forced me to sort all my pictures and upload them there. It is dead-simple to use and quite effective.

So below are links to some of the collections (so-called "sets") that I uploaded so far to there. Just click on the highlighted names and you will see all the pictures. Click on the pictures below and a slideshow will start.

You can find a complete list of all my sets here.

When the doctor comes to town ...
During August 2005, Johannes and I took trips to Tallinn, Turku and Porvoo.


Theresas Trips to European Capitals
Since 2004, Theresa and I visit at least one European Capital per year. The visits so far were:


Finish Impressions

Some more trips


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Back Home Again 
Monday, 13 .March, 2006, 08:22 - English Entries, Finland, Travel
View from airport longue in Hong Kong

After having Friday afternoon out in the Sanya city center, mostly in a bar together with my favourite chairman and some local beer brands, I slept until Saturday morning and finally adjusted to the Chinese time zone. At 6 o'clock I went up, packed, had a short breakfast, checked-out and went to the local airport. 1.5 hour flight to Hong Kong. There waiting in the airport longue until the flight to Frankfurt was ready. It just took us 12 hours to go from the former British colony to Frankfurt. And from there then another 2.5 hours to Helsinki, where I arrived the night from Saturday to Sunday at 1.00.

My flat had the usual "there was no window open since one week" smell, but still it welcomed me warmly. I switched the computer on and half way on its way up I switched it off again, went to bed and fell into a restless sleep.

On Sunday I found out that the after shave bottle in my luggage broke and everything in the bag had a comfortable and intensive smell to it. The electric razor decided not to survive this attack. I am back to my old wet shaver again. Also looking at my flat at daylight is not the thing I needed after the long flight. Stuff from the Denver trip is still waiting to be cared for, books are piling up in several corners together with dust. There's no food in the fridge and no ironed shirt within these 42 square meters. Somewhere I find a to-do list from which I still cannot cross out anything. And I am still on Chines time zone. It will take a while to adjust to GMT+2 again.

But there is compensation for all of this. The sun shines from a dark blue sky onto snow-white Helsinki. The temperatures are low, which does not seem to be any problem anymore after the humidity and heat in Sanya. The week will bring two concerts in Tavastia. And wet shaving is not that bad after all.


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Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone 
Friday, 10 .March, 2006, 00:08 - English Entries, Travel, Photographs

On Tuesday two colleagues and I took a taxi and after the usual uncertainty whether the driver understood us or not, drove to the "Sanya Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone". It was described as a "buddhist park", which sounds like an ancient religous place. I had read that there is a 108 meter high Buddha statue in that park, which was finished in 2005. After arriving there we understood, that the emphasis is on the words "Tourism Zone".



Impressions from Nanshan ...

It is in fact a good place to lose the last illusions about Buddhism as something purly spiritual. You find it all here: believers on their knees in front of statues, souvenier shops all along the way, entry fees in the realm of those for a Rolling Stones concert and figures of heros that look like they have just fallen out of the latest Pixar movie.


... where Disney and Buddha have a rendezvous.

What is obvious and to my eyes fair is that local pepole pay less money than the few Western tourists, that are not supposed to visit the area for reasons of faith. On the tour busses everything is explained in Chinese language only, but the tour guides are very friendly and some of them spoke good English, so we found out, that the park was built nine years ago.


Buddha off the shore

Nanshan is nevertheless a beautiful place that is for sure worth visiting as long as you do not bring false hopes with you. It is built at the shore, in the middle of hills full of tropical trees and so it looks far away from anything. Some of the places there are quiet and atmospheric. Built next to a fast growing tourist region, having one of the biggest existing religious monumtents in the world right in its center, Nanshan is a monument of Chinas growing wealth and prosperity.


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Freedom of Speech 
Thursday, 09 .March, 2006, 04:03 - English Entries, Travel, Music, Thoughts, Politics

Bob Dylans life once was saved thanks to freedom of speech. He reports about this exceptional event in the very educational and entertaining song Motorpsycho Highway, in which he can only escape from a patriotic American farmer by pretending to be very fond of Fidel Castro (and his beard). Besides that, this song includes violence, shooting, a daring jump out of a window as well as a not very much hidden invitation for having sex, i.e.: all the things that you really miss from modern music.

As said already I am currently in China and the hotel that I am staying in provides a desktop PC in every room, including broadband internet access. It is worth switching it on. After chosing the English version Windows 98 comes up and everything looks normal. Great. So what was the name of the place around here, at which this big Buddha statue is located? Just type in http://en.wikipedia.org and ... uuups: Error message. Maybe the network is down. But no, http://www.spiegel.de comes up fine.

After several tries it became clear, that I could just not access Wikipedia from here. I was not sure whether it is generally blocked from China or it is just not available due to additional security measurements in this hotel, and found more on this issue at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_mainland_China.

What do we learn from this? Maybe that you do not need freedom of speech if you can express your preferences for Castro without running into problems. Maybe that every blocked page is in good company. Maybe that you need to experience a restriction yourself to find out about what it really means.

What I appreciate is the internet access via my mobile phone (GPRS). It connects to the network via Finland and there is no blocking inbetween. Maybe it's after all not too bad to work in this industry.


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